Omega-3's are termed ESSENTIAL fatty acids because they cannot be synthesized within the dog or cat's body, they have to be provided through their diet. If your pet is not getting adequate Omega-3's through his diet then he may display symptoms of deficiency such as a dry, lifeless coat, itchy skin, even hair loss. As well as improving the health of your pet's skin and coat, Omega-3's have a range of health benefits:
Allergies - allergies occur when the immune system over reacts, Omega-3's help reduce inflammation and lessen the allergic reaction of your pet, whether it is a food allergy, flea bite allergy, or a reaction to something your pet has touched or inhaled.
Arthritis - research is showing that omega-3 fatty acids, especially EPA, may be helpful in reducing the inflammation associated with arthritis.
Brain - Due to the role of inflammation in many degenerative brain diseases, Omega-3 supplementation can help lessen and even reverse brain inflammation in many senior pets.
Cancer - Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to slow the development and metastasis of certain cancers.
Eyes - Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the proper development of the retina and visual cortex.
Hair - Haircoats which are dull, brittle, and dry often respond to supplementation with essential fatty acids.
Heart - inflammation can be an element of heart disease making Omega-3's beneficial for their anti-inflammatory effects. Ventricular arrhythmias in dogs have been prevented and high blood pressure has been reduced in dogs supplemented with fatty acids. Animals prone to thromboembolisms may be helped by the anti-clotting effect fatty acids have on platelets.
Inflammatory Disease - many diseases have an inflammatory effect on the body, such as ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease, the anti-inflammatory effects of Omega-3's can be a useful addition in managing these diseases.
Immune System - Senior pets often have weaker immune systems and are much more prone to inflammation and infection. Therefore supplementation with Omega-3 often benefits these pets.
Skin - Omega 3 fatty acids help lessen dry skin and dander, and many forms of skin scaling disorders. This may even allow pet owners to use lower doses of cortisone and antibiotics when managing many of these skin conditions, but this should only be done after consultation with your vet. Various skin conditions in cats such as miliary dermatitis and eosinophilic granulomas have been shown to respond well to fatty acid supplementation.
Yeast Infections: Fatty acids have been shown to slow down the growth of Malassezia pachydermatis, a common yeast infection in cats and dogs, in the laboratory. It is thought these fatty acids may play a beneficial role in the treatment of this yeast infection on the skin and ears in cats and dogs.
Note that it often takes 3-4 months to see maximal benefits of Omega-3 supplementation in both the skin and rest of your pet's body. If you have concerns regarding your pet please seek the advice of your veterinarian.